[Table of Contents]



Barbara Johnstone


BARREN  1. obsolete equipment, copper mine tailings, toxic land fill, scrap
metal heap. 2. a catatonic, a robot, a river run dry. 3. ornamental fruit tree:
pomegranate, quince, uterus, cherry, breast. 4. a blown egg.

CLEARCUT  1. bodybuilder with a shaved head. 2. melted ice, leaded water,
plastic rain. 3. corporate tax break. 4. an ex-forest, a wound that doesn't
bleed. 5. the Rapture.   

CONE  1. pine on the cob.  2. witch's hat, spinning top, hand-held ice cream. 
3. structure in the retina responsible for seeing color.  4. method of crowd

LUNG  1. bully pulpiteer, rhinoceros. 2. tall tree: Sequoia, Douglas Fir, Toni
Morrison, Layli Long Soldier, Western Red Cedar. 3. muffled cry. 4. lights.

TRUNK  1. pillars in the community. 2. child cut down. 3. case that holds human
organs. 4. Venus de Milo, Rodin's The Walking Man, Nengudi's Masked Taping.
5. box of illicit letters.





I began this poem many years ago to cope with infertility. Then, during the pandemic, Harryette Mullen's Sleeping with the Dictionary and her phrase, "the denotation of the penetrative body of the work," caused my thesaurus to quicken in my passions for social justice and the environment.